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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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even single houses, the sails of ships, and the trunks
of trees; but the stay at this considerable height had
nevertheless become very unpleasant, in consequence
of the cold., which was severe in spite of the season,
(June), for the thermometer had fallen to two degrees
(Celsius), and a violent west wind forced the travellers
to seek shelter at the foot of the Sugar-loaf. Face
and hands were numbed with the cold, while their
boots were burnt by the hot soil on which they stood.
TJiey commenced the retreat; the Sugar-loaf, climbed
with such difficulty, was deserted in a few minutes.,
although the descent had to be cautiously made, on ac-
count of the moveable lava and slippery ground. They
first reached the plain of the retema plants., at a
temperattire of 22|- degrees, which seemed a suffo-
cating heat after the cold of the summit, and then
entered gradually the refreshing temperature of ferns
and bushy heaths.
Towards evening they arrived again in Orotava.
It has been mentioned in former chapters that
Alexander von Hranboldt suffered great hardships in
traversing the " Llanos" (the treeless, immense plains
of southern America), In order to give our readers
an idea of these expeditions, we append a sketch,
made by Humboldt of the nature of these steppes.
"Solitary huts, made of moss and branches., and
covered with bulls* hides, lie afc a day's journey from
each other- Innumerable herds of wild bulls, horses,
and mules, roam about the steppes. Primeval forests
and impenetrable darkness, prevail on the narrow
damp boundary which surrounds the desert, nii^hty
granite rocks narrow the bed of the foaming rivers.
The wood resounds with the thunder of the rushing
waters, with the roaring of the jaguar and the dull
howling of the monkeys. "Where the shallow stream
has left a sand-bank, there the heavy bulk of the